Monday, January 14, 2013

Our Lady of the Chocolate Finger

It is between classes on Friday and I'm weaving through and around my colleagues (but not taunting any of them, I swear) when the Dean calls my name.

"Soldani! Need you!"

I extricate myself from whomever I was not taunting at that moment and  follow him and his voice into the inner sanctum room where textbooks and really important things worth locking up are kept.

"It's about religion, you know about all that stuff" he says as I join him and Debbie, both looking perplexed.

"Yay, right up my alley," I offer, knowing and follow their eyes to a trail of something leaking mysteriously from the file cabinet.

I rubbed my finger in the substance to see what it was -- not blood, not really sure if it was chocolate, but maybe old thick coffee?

"Well, it probably isn't Mary bleeding. She weeps. This has to be Jesus if it's blood and  it seems more like chocolate syrup or dried coffee...."

I offer to taste my finger, I almost do it, but I can't.

For a minute I blame Tinsley, our colleague whose life we will be celebrating tomorrow. He wasn't much of a trickster, but he loved to laugh.

If he were here, he'd definitely put down his NYT crossword puzzle and offer some sort of advice.

But Tinsley's passing isn't funny and we are to sore to face it now, today, when we don't have to, so we don't.

Debbie closes the file cabinet and again the mysterious miraculous chocolatey oil cascades out again.

I run my hand  under the drawer.

I get down on my back, on the floor (in my cute dress, a long one, very appropriate for all matters of religion, sushi eating and for also teaching about the Dawes Plan) and look up at the bottom of the cabinet behind the drawer.

There is more or that magical gook there and Debbie hands me a wipe to get it all away.

Satisfied our files and textbook closet have been properly sanctified, I go off  back to my office reminding myself over and over to not lick my fingers and see if that stuff really was chocolate.